Take a look behind the scenes of Pong
Photo: Pong team sharing a photo after filming the party scenes.
Behind the Scenes
The Making of PONG
PONG, a narrative horror short film.
Four college students reunite at an unsuspecting house party but face otherworldly obstacles when they enter a nightmarish, reality-bending game of beer pong.
23 pages of script, 6 producers, 1 semester. Here’s how we made it:
Day 1: Character Openings
We began our journey at the best place to start: the beginning (of the script). Our crew of producers joined forces to not only carry, but also set up AND use equipment for the first day on set. With Anna leading the team as director & Sean as DP, the PONG cast was in great hands.
We filmed 4 different scenes with our main cast at 2 locations. We hit some snags along the way, but our producers let the show go on. Day 1 wasn’t complete without some cute pets (see our BTS video), some light egg-cooking, and cramming the entire team into a tiny bedroom.
We learned that Allison’s call sheets did a great deal to prepare & organize us for the day, and that Erin F and the Tascam are seemingly inseparable.
Day 2: Dinner Scene
After practicing lighting setups in class this semester, the PONG team was ready & eager to get into the studio and create our vision. Props & pizza were acquired and we were prepared to shoot. Day 2 of filming featured strong acting performances from JB as Kevin & Amajae as Nat.
Our talented producer Allison kept things organized and running smoothly as PA on set.
Though we felt confident on our home turf, pizza delays, uncontrollable lighting snafus, and a lack of knot-tying abilities kept the team on our toes. The dinner scene is one of our favorites in the project, and we hope you enjoy it too.
Day 3: Party day 1
PARTY TIME! The best way to have fun on set, is to theme your film around a college party. We had a big weekend of filming ahead of us, which started with Allison & Anna grocery shopping for snacks, and the Erins cleaning Sean’s bathroom for the actors, and his yard for the set. Cinder-Erins, if you will.
We kicked off shooting with a cast rehearsal & group pep talk, and wrapped with Erin F racing down the street on a bicycle for Scene 9.
The best part of our shoot was the atmosphere & location of our party scenes. Our party house came equipped with spray paint, graffiti, red Solo cups, empty cans and bottles, and loud neighbors partying outside.
Day 4: Party day 2
Exhausted yet excited, the PONG team presses on for our second day of partying. Hoping to be more efficient now that we are familiar with the location and lighting needs, we came prepared with a plan and ready to work.
We finished off the big party shoot by filming the very first scene of PONG, a flashback party scene. The actors, extras, and PONG producers alike had a blast acting & sprinting out the back door to “escape the cops.”
The PONG team finished off the night with a lot more footage, a lot of laughs, and a little dance party & polaroid picture session.
Day 5: Kevin’s Lair
Even more tired than the day before, the PONG team reconvened for the final shoot of the long weekend. Rise & shine, call time was 9 AM on Sunday morning.
Today, PONG had a shorter shoot for the “Kevin’s Lair” scenes. Anna got creative with Kevin’s “serial killer board,” and Josh directed our creative camera angles and movements. Erin P did an amazing job using the shoulder mount as our DP. “Kevin” impressed our crew, scaring everyone with his creepy movements and mannerisms, but still kept the mood light by sharing bulldog pictures.
We spent a couple hours playing with & rolling ping pong balls around Sean’s apartment, as well as arranging a creepy man cave for Kevin to inhabit (shoutout to Sean’s LED lights). After a long & successful weekend, the PONG producers wrapped early for some rest.
Day 6: Baseball Scene
After struggling to secure a location up until the last moment, Josh was able to find us a spot to film next to Geasey Field at Temple. The PONG team was thrilled, relieved, and ready to shoot the scene that started it all. Fun fact: the baseball scene was the first scene that we wrote for the script.
Day 7: Dorm Deaths
The final day of filming was perhaps the coziest (and coldblooded) of all! The height of the plot was filmed last but not least in Erin P’s sister’s room! Her simple bedroom layout created the best dorm scene where blood would be shed. The room of a multifunctional bunk bed, 1 window, and 1 closet almost mimics the script perfectly.
The PONG crew flew in and out throughout the filming day, but that was probably for the best because the max capacity could only fit about 2 people on the top bunk and three-ish people on the set floor. We had Erin P filming Camera 3 footage and Allison & Erin F switching off on audio engineer/grip–all from above, while director Anna, DP Sean, and PA Josh rotated in and out after “Action!” was called.
The actors died brilliantly in the glorious red of the LED lights which would become the creme de la creme of the PONG film aesthetic. And it honestly couldn't have been achieved without the stunt work of stand-in Bridget (Erin P’s sister) as Kevin. Bridget’s graceful and gory choreography forged the most believable murders with Anna’s prop knife (a leftover Halloween accessory) as the murder weapon.